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Annual Arts Business Competition Celebrates Arts Entrepreneurship, 2024 Finalists

By Wisconsin School of Business

February 22, 2024

Graphic design of shark tank theme

The Bolz Center for Arts Administration is set to host the 15th annual University of Wisconsin–Madison Arts Business Competition, a campus-wide event highlighting student arts entrepreneurship ventures.

Designed to incubate new thinking and innovative ideas, entrants develop and submit a detailed proposal for an arts venture of their choice. The finalists then pitch proposals for their projects to a panel of judges for the chance to win up to $2,000 in monetary support.

Judges for the 2024 competition include: Dr. Roxie Hentz, founding executive director of CEOs of Tomorrow; Brandon Hughes, booking agent and founder of Revel Talent Alliance; and Helen Lee, assistant professor of glassworking in the Art Department and faculty director of The Studio Creative Arts Community.

This year’s competition will take place February 28 at the Wisconsin School of Business.

“Now in its 15th year, the Arts Business Competition was created by Andrew Taylor, former director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration, and Professor Emeritus Stephanie Jutt of the Mead Witter School of Music in 2009 to encourage UW–Madison students to develop and present a thorough business proposal for an arts event, exhibition, or project,” says Sarah Marty, director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration. “In the years since, over 50 undergraduate and graduate students at UW–Madison have received funding.  We’re excited to share this year’s projects with others and hope that you can join us for the event.”

The three finalists, including two Bolz Center Master of Arts-Business: Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership (MA-ACE) candidates, are:

Cornhusk Collective
Founder: Giselle Olivia, MA-ACE candidate
The Cornhusk Collective is an artist collective that supports artists, strengthens cultural ties, and contributes to the healing and vitality of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. Artists practicing traditional, hybrid, and contemporary art forms will come together to create. They will connect in shared spaces to build community through art and design opportunities that benefit the collective and community.

Madison Gamer Symphony Orchestra
Founder: Ben Carlee, Doctor of Musical Arts candidate
The Madison Gamer Symphony Orchestra (MGSO) is an innovative initiative to rejuvenate symphonic music and bridge generational gaps through the transformative beauty of video game soundtracks performed by a professional symphony orchestra. Founded as a doctoral project at UW–Madison by Ben Carlee, MGSO aims to captivate diverse audiences with exceptional orchestral renditions of beloved gaming compositions.

Tufting with Tony
Founder: Tony Sansalone, MA-ACE candidate
Tufting refers to a textile process in which a threaded needle pierces through a fabric to create loops or piles. Through social media platforms, artists showcase their tufted creations, share their processes, and connect with a global audience, thus allowing for significant growth in awareness and appreciation in the United States. Sansalone has partnered with Wheelhouse Studios, located in UW–Madison’s Memorial Union, with the intention to host and promote classes and workshops.

The Arts Business Competition is supported by UW–Madison’s Division of the Arts, the Wisconsin School of Business, and WSB’s Bolz Center for Arts Administration.